Teachers of the Year honored by the Board, community
This is the image for the news article titled Teachers of the Year honored by the Board, community

Livonia Public Schools proudly recognized three educators as the 2017-2018 Teachers of the Year during the November 13 regular Board of Education meeting.

The program included special tributes from the LPS Board of Education, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, State Rep. Laura Cox and State Senator Patrick Colbeck, along with Wayne County Commissioners Terry Marecki, Diane Webb and Glenn Anderson.

Community donations were received by County Commissioners Terry Marecki and Diane Webb, the Livonia Symphony Orchestra, Livonia Parks and Recreation and local establishments: Las Palapas, Rusty Bucket, George’s Senate, Barnes & Noble and Dave and Busters. The donations were combined to create gift bags for each honoree.

The honorees this year are Elizabeth Gostomski, second-grade teacher at Kennedy Elementary; Philip Quackenbush, band and orchestra teacher at Emerson Middle School, and Julie Smith, French teacher at Franklin High School. They were selected by a 13-member committee after being part of a community-wide nomination process.

Elementary Teacher of the Year

Elizabeth Gostomski has been a teacher in the district for eight years and is known for her student-centered classroom, her innovative teaching methods and her willingness to share her best practices with colleagues on a regular basis. Her classroom is often visited by guest teachers who want to learn from her. Students and parents appreciate her open communication, friendly personality and her ability to go well above, and way beyond, to ensure her students are comfortable and that they are learning to the best of their individual abilities. Her classroom is filled with students who are beaming with leadership, pride and teamwork.

Middle School Teacher of the Year

Philip Quackenbush teaches 7th and 8th grade band and orchestra and has been with Livonia Public Schools for 15 years. He is known as a knowledgeable and caring educator who is passionate about teaching music. Seeing a need for student instruments, Mr. Quackenbush established a partnership with community organizations, including the Livonia Symphony Orchestra and Livonia Kids & Families, to ensure all students have an instrument to play, without finances being a barrier. He also offers after-school practice sessions and prepares students to compete in the MSBOA Solo & Ensemble competitions. The majority of Mr. Quackenbush’s middle school students go on to play in the band or orchestra groups at the high school level.

High School Teacher of the Year

Julie Smith has been with Livonia Public Schools for 21 years and is known as a caring, professional teacher who is “the face of everything positive” in the teaching profession. As the World Languages chairperson for 13 years, Mrs. Smith has taken a leadership role among her peers and has served as a mentor teacher. As a member of a variety of district-wide committees, she has served as an ambassador for the World Languages programs in Livonia Public Schools. Outside of the classroom, school and district, Mrs. Smith represents LPS well when she takes student groups on trips to French-speaking nations, where they are able to put their studies into practice in a culturally enlightening experience. 

teachers of the year
From left, LPS Superintendent Andrea Oquist, Elementary Teacher of the Year Elizabeth Gostomski, High School Teacher of the Year Julie Smith and Middle School Teacher of the Year Philip Quackenbush.